Nutrition Tip of the week by Luca Mazzurana
Nowadays, deciding what to drink and how to replenish your fluid loss during physical activity can be challenging. Given the large amount and variety of sports drinks available today, one can feel a bit confused. What are sports drinks?
Sports drinks are carbohydrate electrolyte solutions designed to replace energy (through carbohydrates), electrolytes (salts lost through sweat, like sodium and potassium) and fluid loss.
Sports drinks should be used:
▷ During vigorous physical activity that lasts longer than 60 minutes of non-stop exercise.
▷ After a long training session, in order to restore glycogen levels, electrolytes and fluid balance, although a post-workout snack (see Nutrition tip #1) plus water would be a better recovery solution.
It is very common to see people consuming copious amounts of sports drinks during every physical activity they perform, regardless of intensity or duration. This may actually hinder their health and physical performance. Sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade contain 5% to 8 % of sugar, which if not used can cause a calorie surplus that leads to increased weight and fluctuation in blood sugar levels that will eventually cause hypoglycemia, giving a sense of fatigue to the consumer.
If you are an athlete who does not train for a prolonged time at high intensity (i.e. 6+, 2 hour sessions/week) I would recommend to consume simple water to replenish your fluid loss. If you feel like you need more electrolytes, there are calorie-free drinks that provide electrolytes and fluids (e.g. Nuun), which are also a good compromise for fluid-electrolyte replenishment.
Have a nice week!